We can get overwhelmed by heat. Certain factors increase the risk. Anyone can be affected by a heat-related illness. But it is more common in infants, young children, older adults and people who have chronic health conditions or when outdoor temperatures and humidity levels rise. The good news is, there are ways families can prevent these illnesses. <!–split–>
- Never leave a child alone in a vehicle, not even for a minute! Vehicles heat up fast, even on cool or cloudy days.
- Check weather reports regularly. Watch the temperatures and the heat index. Watch for heat warnings and advisories.
- Dress appropriately. Wear clothing that is loose, lightweight and light colored. This will absorb less heat and allow sweat to evaporate better.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water or other sugar free fluids, even if you aren’t thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Provide plenty of water for pets too.
- Limit outdoor activities. Avoid strenuous activities, including exercise, during the hottest part of the day (usually between 10 AM and 4 PM)
- Prevent sunburn. Getting a sunburn can make it harder for the body to stay cool. Keep babies under 6 months of age out of the sun. For older children and adults, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher any time you go outdoors. Wear a hat and sunglasses too.
- Keep your home cool. Use air conditioning if you have it. Otherwise, use fans to keep air circulating in your home.
- Seek relief. If you do not have air conditioning, spend a few hours a day somewhere that does. For example, go to a local mall, library, senior center or cooling station.
- Check on loved ones and neighbors. Older adults and people with health conditions are often more sensitive to the heat. When it’s warm out, check in regularly with any family members, friends or neighbors who fall into one of these groups.
- Be alert for signs of heat-related illness. Heat cramps – heavy sweating and painful muscle cramps or spasms. Heat exhaustion – heavy sweating, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and cool, pale skin. Heat stroke – very high body temperature, hot red skin, confusion, fast pulse, dizziness, throbbing headache, shallow breathing, seizures and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency!
- Medical help. Any symptoms of heat stroke require immediate medical treatment. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency number right away!
- Get medical help if the person has high blood pressure or heart problems, symptoms do not improve within 1 hour, symptoms worsen.
Have fun and stay safe this summer! Your Parish Nurse, Kara